By Lauren Reid
Last updated on: February 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm
RAA’s calling for greater petrol price transparency, as new research shows car fuel is one of the biggest annual energy expenses facing householders.
Service stations should be required to provide real-time pricing updates which would be published on a website or app, a move that would save motorists hundreds of dollars a year, says RAA motoring expert Mark Borlace.
Currently, the only services available in SA show price ranges in certain areas, but don’t show specific costs at all service stations.
The New South Wales and Northern Territory governments already require servos to provide real-time fuel prices.
Mr Borlace said we’ve been calling for the SA government to follow suit for some time and we want whoever forms the next state government to introduce legislation to make fuel pricing information accessible for all South Aussies.
“SA motorists deserve the same information provided to those interstate so they can take advantage of cheaper prices when buying fuel,’’ he said.
The savings can be significant, Mr Borlace said, given the difference between petrol prices at the top and bottom of the price cycle averaged 24c a litre.
“That’s a cost difference of more than $14 when filling the tank of a typical family sedan,’’ Mr Borlace said. “Over a year, that can amount to hundreds of dollars difference for many Adelaide motorists.”
How much motorists could save a year
We’ve looked at three popular cars and calculated how much drivers would save if they bought petrol at the cheapest point of the cycle, compared to the most expensive. The figures are based on a 3-month average ULP price of $1.34 and an average distance of 12,000km/year.
Mr Borlace said providing real-time price comparisons would help create price competition among fuel retailers and enable motorists to buy the cheapest petrol available.
“The average annual fuel cost for a four-wheel-drive is around $1600, while a family sedan is $1300 and even a city run about costs around $900.
“Given many households have two or more cars, that’s a big cost to families, which is why savings generated by price transparency would be very welcome’’.
Labor has publicly committed to legislating for real-time pricing information if it forms government at the March state election. Its proposal would see a dedicated state government web page host the information.
In The Advertiser, the Liberals Party said it was open to creating a similar system if elected, but is yet to release any plans. SA Best agreed greater transparency was necessary, but said it had concerns about how the process may impact on smaller retailers if there were set-up costs associated.
The Australian Conservatives told RAA it would consider measures such as real-time fuel pricing, but if this approach was taken, would also call for a watch dog to make sure large retailers don’t abuse the system as a way of pushing small mum and dad operations out of business.
The Greens told RAA it’s supportive of measures that enable consumers to shop around in real time to get the best fuel deal; however, they would look for an exception to protect small rural operators.
At the time of publication, RAA was yet to receive a response from the Dignity Party. Check back for updates.